“Saying goodbye to an animal – it’s hard,” says Chris, who is leaving Florence, Ariz. State Prison after serving a six-year sentence. He’s one of 30 minimum-security participants in the prison’s pioneering Wild Horse Inmate Program, working five days a week to “gentle” the wild mustangs, which are saved from slaughter. Training them as saddle horses keeps recidivism at bay in Arizona, where inmates face a 49 percent chance of reincarceration within five years. Since 2012, only three of the prison’s 53 WHIP trainers are back behind bars.
- Andrew Michael Ellis